Focus the Nation … on Global Warming

Focus the Nation posterIt’s not too late to get involved in what organizers are calling an unprecedented U.S.-wide teach-in focused on solutions to global warming.

Organized by “Focus the Nation,” the teach-in — scheduled to culminate on Thursday, Jan. 31 — aims to get millions of students, teachers, people of faith and other citizens together in various locations to discuss just one topic: how Americans can start tackling climate change now.

A project of the Green House Network that’s being directed by Eban Goodstein, an economics professor at Lewis and Clark College, Focus the Nation set out to sign up 1,000 colleges and universities across the U.S. for the teach-in. Organizers have more than met that goal, with 1,600-plus organizations planning to participate as of Tuesday, Jan. 29: from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, to Western Wyoming Community College.

The event officially kicks off on Wednesday, Jan. 30, with a live, one-hour Webcast of “The 2% Solution” starting at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Earth Day Television. The interactive program will feature, among others, Stephen Schneider, a climate scientist at Stanford University; Hunter Lovins, president and founder of Natural Capitalism Inc.; and Van Jones, an attorney, green jobs pioneer and founder of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

Why “The 2% Solution?” Becaue keeping global warming below about 4 degrees Fahrenheit tops will take an 80 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by developed countries by mid-century. That’s a cut of about 2 percent per year.

So what happens after Jan. 31? Following the teach-in, Focus the Nation is urging participants to set up roundtable discussions with their elected representatives to discuss solutions to climate change. Organizers are also looking ahead to what they’re calling a “critical month in human history”: February 2009, the month in which the newly elected U.S. president and Congress start setting their agenda for the nation.

Can we really expect the nation’s leaders to take a drastic turn for the better one year from now? Time will tell, but it’s certainly a goal worth focusing on.

3 thoughts on “Focus the Nation … on Global Warming”

  1. Shirley Siluk Gregory

    Hi Ivan,

    You’re right, and I do realize that America includes more than the U.S. (and that many outside the U.S. don’t appreciate the use of the term “America” to refer just to the U.S.). I really do try to avoid it, and thought I hadn’t done so here. The only place I used it was to refer to U.S. citizens as Americans, which they are of course. I understand the need to make the distinction, but U.S.-ans doesn’t really work. I’ll try to keep the reference as “U.S. citizens” rather than “Americans” in future.

    I do appreciate your feelings (believe me, now, more than ever, considering the U.S.’s poor performance as a global citizen in so many ways in recent years).

    Sorry if my phrasing bothered you — I understand your feelings completely.

  2. (First and foremost, I would like to apologize for any English mistake I might have commited in this letter.)

    I would like to ask you to not talk about your country as “America” anymore. Since I am Brazilian, I am also part of America, and don’t feel part of the *United States*. All of us are part of the American continent. If your country is named “The United States of America”, it means exactly that: you are _*a group of states*_ inside the continent, not the continent itself.
    If you need a smaller name to call yourselves, please use “United States”, “U.S.”, “Anglo-America” (that is all right, since it excludes Mexico, Central and South America), “N.A.”, “U.S.A.”… Anything but simply “America”.
    You may not be aware, but you anger us, Latin-Americans, when you take the whole continent as your country. So, please do not do it again. To sum up, “America” is our continent, not only your country. Please again, find another name to refer to your nation.
    I look foward to hearing from you soon.

    Yours faithfully,

    Ivan Linares, from America. South America.

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